Walmart announced yesterday that former Bush administration official Dan Bartlett will replace Leslie Dach as the company’s spin-master/image-polisher (er, we mean “executive vice president of corporate affairs”). Dach was hired back in 2006 to run a campaign to clean up Walmart’s reputation, make it seem like a friendlier, cuddlier corporate citizen, and build bridges with Democrats. In other words, he’s been an extremely busy man for the last seven years and may need a vacation.
Walmart gives away millions and millions of dollars a year through the company’s Walmart Foundation. Its motivations aren’t purely philanthropic: As outgoing EVP Leslie Dach told investors in 2010, philanthropy bolsters Walmart’s reputation, and the company then seeks to use that reputation as “a lever” in achieving company goals, such as opening stores in new markets.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late last month, Walmart said it expects to incur a loss as a result of investigations and lawsuits related to the alleged systematic bribery scheme in its Mexican subsidiary. “Given the on-going nature and complexity of the review, inquiries, and investigations,” the company wrote, “we cannot reasonably estimate any loss or range of loss that may arise from these matters.”